Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals Now Offering Chest CT Scans to Screen for Lung Cancer
Darby, PA (January 13, 2014): As part of the Healthy Lung Program - a continuum of comprehensive services in prevention, early detection and treatment of lung cancer - Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital now offer low-dose Chest Computed Tomography (CT) scans to screen for lung cancer in individuals who are – or were – long-time smokers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lung cancer, primarily caused by cigarette smoking, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Symptoms of lung cancer often do not show until the later stages of the disease, when it is difficult to treat. Undergoing a low-dose chest CT scan can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages when treatment can be more effective and a cure more possible.
Current medical guidelines recommend a yearly screening for current smokers or those who have quit within the past 15 years if they are 55 to 74 years old with a 30-pack year history of smoking or 50 years old or over with a 20-pack year history of smoking and with one or more of the following risk factors: COPD, radon exposure, self or family history of cancer, and/or occupation exposure to carcinogens, like asbestos.
“A pack year equals smoking 20 cigarettes every day for one year,” explains Dr. Ajay Pillai, pulmonologist at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals. “You can only imagine the harm caused over the years. Normally, when lung cancer has gone undetected and is finally diagnosed, it is usually in stages 3 and 4, when surgery is not an option and outcomes are bleak. Early detection through screenings is critical to finding lung cancer early on when we can be more successful at treating or even curing it.”
Individuals presenting with any of the aforementioned health risks are encouraged to speak with their physician about getting screened. In cases where insurance does not cover the cost of the low-dose chest CT scan, the self-pay rate is just $99 – substantially less than the normally several hundred dollar fee.
Talk to your physician today or call 610.237.2525 to make an appointment. For more information on the Healthy Lung Program at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals, visit www.mercyhealth.org/healthylung